A Ghost of a Story
Silver Ghost 41EM at Mont St Michel, Normandy, France
read Terry Walkers
very interesting and informative article on his sojourn in England last year
, it set me thinking about some of the trips my Master and Mistress* have
taken me on, around the side roads of Britain and farther afield.
A while back
I was taken on a trip to the Hendre, the ancestral home of Lord Llangattock
and his son, the Hon C. S. Rolls. The grounds are now laid out as a golf course.
The house, which is a most impressive edifice in red brick, had fallen on hard
times but is being slowly renovated which should ensure its survival. It displays
some lovely stone work, some of the more intricate aspects of which have decayed
on one side (the garden front) due to exposure to the prevailing winds. My owners
were staying at a lovely old hotel in Builth Wells in the middle of Wales with
some friends for a week. I was in the company of 53PK and 2087E outside the
main door of the hotel with Mack the lucky Labrador who only ever travels by
I made a quick dash across England with my hood down in appalling rain to Arundel
to visit the new Rolls-Royce factory at Goodwood. These new Phantoms are an
amazing feat of superb engineering put together in a partially underground factory
more akin to the clinical atmosphere imagined in a pharmaceutical facility.
The thought put into the design of the staff uniforms alone had my headlamps
out on sticks! My carburettors boggled at the thought that all this has occurred
in four years.
From here we
meandered along the south coast then north to Exmoor (where I had a hiccup and
was laid up for 24 hours). We then went on to Cardiff where 1 was to meet again
a small group of 14 pre-war Rolls- Royces with whom I have become quite friendly.
My owners had joined the Irish Georgian Society so they could visit many private
stately homes during a long weekend. From there, I rushed us to Pembroke to
catch a ferry to Ireland to meet a small group of WA enthusiasts due to dine
at the world famous Ballymaloe House. I then had the pleasure of leading them
on a very pleasant few days tour of the south-west of Ireland. The Bentleys
in the group are still wondering what happened to them. They have now become
familiar with the most varied assortment of small tracks in the countryside.
We now all
headed for County Kildare to celebrate the Centennial of the 1903 Irish Gordon
Bennett Race the largest sporting event in the world to that date
over one million people attended it was the precursor of the modern day
Grand Prix. I had 212 other cars to view, including some that competed in the
original 1903 event. This was a great weekend.
I guided our little group to Rosslare to sail to France and onto LeMans to see
Bentley win the Twenty Four Hour Race. First and second a magnificent
and clockwork- like achievement. Bentley Motors provided us with parking at
the Hippodrome where they had built a de-mountable hotel for the weekend. 100
beds. One receptionist was especially employed because of her linguistic ability
to converse with the Moscow agent! Though I was ensconced all weekend in the
paddock with all manner of Bentleys, my masters availed of the Companys
shuttle service to the track. It was their first visit after years of absence.
They used to be regulars. They said it had not changed much as all the cars
still had their characteristic sounds (US V8s. etc., though Bentley was almost
silent like the Derbys of the Thirties. So unlike todays Grand
From here we
left our little group and headed to Poizieres where 20,000 died in one day in
WW1 very sobering. I thought of my older brothers and sisters rushing
dispatches to and from the front line by the Duke of Westminster and his team
I then took
them north to see the Irish stone round tower and Peace Park at Messines. A
very moving place. We then headed north-west, to Dunkirk, a place of great loss
for Rolls-Royce and Bentleys during WW11. Then it was back to England.
At this stage
of the journey, my Mistress came down with whooping cough . So even though I
enjoyed the company of vast numbers of Rolls- Royce and Bentleys at Towcester
(RREC National Meet), she was not so enthralled. I did however meet my body
makers daughter (Windovers) and my restorer from the late Sixties which
thrilled us all greatly. His wife it turned out worked for WA Member John Markham
in Howard Street in those days. The Markhams then owned my Brother 65UE. She
was not known to the restorer in those times, having met each other in England
many years later. It is indeed a small world.